How to Clean Your Fireplace to Paint

My husband and I are going to whitewash our fireplace. Before that can be done it is important to clean it properly. I have done a ton of research on how to clean your fireplace properly so you can get it ready for whitewashing or painting. Bricks can easily become dirty with built up soot, grease and even mold over time it is just inevitable. For the paint to adhere properly you must remove any build up. I know this is the boring part and all you want to do is get to painting so I will try and make this as easy as I can for you. 🙂

Cover everything you don’t want anything dripped on.

Cleaning dirt off your fireplace:

What you will need:

  • Water
  • Soap
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
  • Safety goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Face mask


  1. Start off by cleaning the dirt off with your stiff bristle brush dipped in warm soapy water. Just like cleaning dirt off anything else.
  2. If you have soot build up (which most of us do) use your TSP. Follow the instructions on the box or use 1/2 a cup TSP to 1 gallon water. I always use rubber gloves and a face mask when working with any type of chemicals. This is optional but recommended.
  3. Allow the bricks to dry for 24 hours before you start painting them. 🙂

Clean off mildew:

If your fireplace has accumulated mildew you will want to remove that and I love bleach for cleaning. It will not only disinfect, and clean but also kill the pores that the mildew is growing from. Because bleach has a lot of fumes please make sure you have ventilation so prop open a door, turn on a fan or open a window.

What you will need:

  1. Wire brush
  2. Bleach
  3. Bucket
  4. Rubber gloves
  5. Face mask


  1. Mix about 1 cup of the bleach and 4 cups of water into a bucket. Depending on how big your fireplace is you can add or lessen the amount.
  2. Using rubber gloves and a face mask take the wire brush and scrub the area(s) with your bleach mixture.
  3. Allow the bricks to dry for 24 hours before you start painting them.

What have you done today?

I hope you learned  how to clean your fireplace properly. If you do paint I would love to see before and after photos! Have a beautiful day and week!

Thanks for reading.

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